Description male female larva Irish distribution

Coenagrion pulchellum

Coenagrion pulchellum (Vander Linden, 1825)


Common name: Variable Damselfly

Preferred environment: fens, mesotrophic pools and lakes and coastal drainage ditches. In Ireland most abundant on mesotrophic pools and small sheltered lakes. Often abundant on cutover raised bogs.

Flight period: beginning of April to mid-August. In Ireland from the beginning of May to the beginning of August.

Adult habitat and habits: adults stay close to breeding sites resting and feeding in marginal and surrounding vegetation. Mating happens in surrounding vegetation.

Oviposition site and behaviour: pairs arrive at oviposition sites in tandem. Female oviposits in plant tissues, including old leaves of water lilies, Elodea spp, Mentha aquatica and Potamogeton spp.

Larval habitat and habits: eggs hatch after c 1 month. Larval development in south of range completed in 12 months.

Emergence behaviour: on marginal vegetation

Range: central Europe. Absent from most of Iberia, southern Italy, Greece and Mediterranean islands. In Scandinavia as far north as central Finland.

Determination of adults: species is keyed and diagnostic characters of both sexes are figured in Askew (1988). Adults are illustrated in colour in Askew (1988) and Brooks (1997).

Determination of larvae: keys to mature larvae in Askew (1988), Brooks (1997) and Norling and Sahlen (1997).


Nelson, B., Thompson, R. & Morrow, C., 2000 (May 2). [In] DragonflyIreland http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/dragonflyireland/


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